Pilots Clip Hawkeyes to Advance to PGCBL Finals

Dominick Ruscitti (Kutztown) delivers a pitch against the Elmira Pioneers on Aug. 2 at Colburn Park. Ruscitti earned the win for Newark over Cooperstown in Game 3. Photo courtesy Steve Plopper/Newark Pilots
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Sean Osterman (St. John Fisher) smashed a three-run double as part of a four-run third inning and Mark Scott (San Joaquin Delta) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth as the Newark Pilots punched their ticket to the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Championship Series with a 4-3 victory over the Cooperstown Hawkeyes in Game 3 of the PGCBL West Division playoffs. Newark triumphed over Cooperstown, two games to one, in the best-of-three series.

Cooperstown jutted out a 1-0 lead through two behind a Ben Manlove (Chico State) RBI double in the second. Adam Grace (Genesee CC) led off the third with a base hit and he moved to second on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Luke Swenson (UCSB) swatted a one-out single into center field that moved Grace to third. A walk to Ray Delvalle (Kentucky Wesleyan) loaded the bases full of Pilots. Cooperstown starter Jimmy Hill (Wesleyan) forced Kyle Attl (Cal State Northridge) to pop out to third for the second out of the inning. With two outs and Randy Villa (San Joaquin Delta) at the plate, a passed ball scored Adam Grace from third with the game-tying run. Villa worked a two-out walk and Sean Osterman followed with a bases-clearing double to give Newark a 4-1 lead.

The Hawkeyes scored single runs in the fifth and eighth innings to pull within one. Cooperstown’s Ben Manlove began the bottom of the ninth with a single to left field and J.P. Sportman (Central Conn. State) advanced Manlove to second with a sacrifice bunt. Newark’s Mark Scott struck out Luke Burns (Hudson Valley CC) for the second out of the inning. Alan Pastyrnak Jr. (Northeastern) lined a single into right field to move the potential tying run, Manlove, to third. Danny Nelson (CSU Monterey Bay) walked to load the bases with two outs. Mark Scott ended the threat, the game and the series with a strikeout of Ben Miller (Shippensburg).

Newark starter Dominick Ruscitti (Kutztown) held Cooperstown to three runs on six hits over seven and one-third innings. Ruscitti walked two, struck out eight and worked five 1-2-3 innings. Reliever Andrew Tidwell (Saginaw Valley State) retired both batters he faced in the bottom of the eighth inning. Offensively, Adam Grace totaled two hits and he was one of six Pilots to record at least one hit in the contest.

Cooperstown’s Jimmy Hill was charged with the loss. Hill allowed four runs on four hits over three and one-third innings. Jacob Cadle (Greensboro) blanked the Pilots over four and two-thirds frames of relief and struck out five. Terrence Moore (Marshall) pitched a scoreless ninth. The Cooperstown trio stranded 11 Newark runners on base. Alan Pastyrnak Jr. and Ben Manlove each went 2-for-4 with one RBI and Danny Nelson (CSU Monterey Bay) blasted a solo home run.

Newark nearly sprinted out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Sean Osterman drew a lead-off walk and was sacrificed to second by Jacob Starnes (UT Dallas). Michael Bolling (Lewis) hit a ground ball to the right side that was mishandled by Alan Pastyrnak Jr. Osterman attempted to score from second on the play but Pastyrnak retrieved the ball and threw out Osterman at home. Bolling was gunned down attempting to steal second by Cooperstown catcher Ben Manlove to end the inning.

Cooperstown answered with the first run of the game in the last of the second. Tynan Pedretti (Merced) mashed a lead-off double and then scored on a one-out double from Ben Manlove. The second double was followed by a walk to Alan Pastyrnak Jr. and a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. Newark starter Dominick Ruscitti then retired the next two Cooperstown batters to end the inning.

Newark’s four-run third was buoyed by three hits, a wild pitch, two walks and a passed ball. Cooperstown added to its' offensive total in the fifth. J.P. Sportman singled to start the frame and moved up to second on a Luke Burns ground out. Alan Pastyrnak Jr. ripped a single into center field that scored Sportman from second to trim Newark’s lead to two. Danny Nelson walked to give the Hawkeyes the potential tying run on base. Dominick Ruscitti rebounded with a strikeout and a fielders’ choice ground out to keep Cooperstown to a single run in the inning.

Danny Nelson accounted for Cooperstown’s final postseason tally with a solo home run to left field to start the eighth. Newark left two runners on base in the top of the ninth looking for an insurance run against Cooperstown’s Terrence Moore. Ray Delvalle doubled to left field to start the stanza and was bunted to third by Kyle Attl (Cal State Northridge). Randy Villa was hit by a pitch to put Pilots on the corners. Moore struck out back-to-back hitters to keep the Pilots off the scoreboard.

                                R   H   E
Newark                   4   7   0
Cooperstown        3   8   1

Dominick Ruscitti (W, 1-0), Andrew Tidwell (8), Mark Scott (9, S 2) and Adam Grace. Jimmy Hill (L, 0-1), Jacob Cadle (4), Terrence Moore (9) and Ben Manlove.

Time – 2:04
Attendance: 602

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